Impound, Impact, Innovation

Impound, Impact, Innovation

Commentary, Editorials, Opinion
Depending on whose report you dig into, my neighborhood is made up of a significant number of individuals and families in the lower income range. According to City-data.com, in 2011, over 40% of the residents in my zip code had incomes at or below poverty level. I would venture to say that many of those residents are among the large percentage who can’t afford the cost of auto or homeowners insurance in Detroit. I’ve seen what would be an inconvenience or minor blip for a middle-class family become a substantial crisis for families whose economic margins are razor thin. We’ve been in this neighborhood for 20 years and witnessed decline as family homes have been lost because of back taxes or destroyed by fire, with no insurance to repair or…
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Passion, Purpose, Action

Commentary, Life & Community
I will begin this article with the disclaimer that it is only meant to raise awareness and inspire the reader to be willing to look at the issues. I do not claim to have all the answers, know what is needed in every situation, or have the personal experience of dealing with each facet involved. Everywhere you turn in today’s society, you find discussions on events, practices, and political debates that include the use of the words “social injustice.” It is easy to point at what is wrong when you see how the end results affect you and others within your life circles. We find it easy to point a finger at outside influences, circumstances, and hierarchical decision making. It only takes elementary-school fundamentals to identify the symptoms of hunger,…
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Protecting Our Children from Exploitation

Commentary, Life & Community
By Rasheda Kamaria The road to end human trafficking can begin with a conversation... They wait nearby like vultures, ready for you to show any sign of weakness. They prey upon the most vulnerable – children, runaways, those living in poverty – waiting to exploit them for personal gain. They are traffickers and they are everywhere – even here in Detroit. Once thought to only be a problem overseas, human trafficking – which includes labor and sex trafficking – is on the rise in the United States. Luckily for me, my vulnerability wasn’t exposed. Instead it was protected by what I call “real talk.” I could have been a statistic – one of more than 100,000 women and children trafficked and exploited in the US. But my intuition and upbringing…
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Gold, Silver, Furniture

Gold, Silver, Furniture

Editorials, Opinion
The sign in the store window was too large to miss: "Trade Your Gold and Silver for Furniture". By the time I pulled into my driveway just a few miles away, I had experienced a range of emotions surrounding what the sign meant, what it conveyed, what it said without saying. For days the sign continued to disturb my thinking on the daily commute to work. It sounded brazen and rude and raw with what seemed like an underlying message that anyone -- on either side of the "furniture for gold or silver" transaction -- should be ashamed to acknowledge being a part of. But I have learned that disturbances are food for thought, an indicator to go deeper than the obvious ripples on the surface. If I have learned…
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Opportunity is the Fabric of Innovation

Editorials, Opinion
Recently I was asked to answer the question: How can cities better connect all residents to economic opportunity? It’s been a few months since that question was posed to me and I’m sure it is one of many on the minds of residents of Detroit and cities everywhere. The answer is not “one size fits all” and involves a spectrum of opportunities beyond just economic ones. It would seem that the scope of one’s opportunity is relative to a history of previous opportunities to build upon. The case has already been made regarding the effects of systemic racism and inequity on opportunity. A city that does not work to address these imbalances will, by default, continue to build the opportunity portfolios of the privileged, while ignoring those in less-privileged positions…
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Amazon Enters the Smartphone Market with Their New Fire Phone

Opinion, Technology
Amazon has worked hard to establish itself as one of America’s most-loved and well-recognized brands. The number of Amazon Prime subscriptions is growing exponentially and Kindle Fires and Paperwhites are flying off the (virtual) shelves. In lieu of taking a break to bask in their recent success, the Amazon crew has decided to make a foray into yet another market with their new Fire smartphone. Jeff Bezos donned his best CEO blazer and jeans ensemble to show off the new device in a 90-minute presentation on June 17. Bezos and his team were acutely aware of the crowded smartphone landscape during development of the Fire Phone. In addition to the giants Samsung and Apple, Amazon will have to contend with the likes of LG, Google, Motorola, and Nokia, all whom…
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